If you are new to working out, you are probably full of a bunch of questions. Some of the equipment is confusing and it seems like you are miles away from being deemed anything even resembling fit. All very valid feelings. But if you keep at it, you will come to understand your body and what it is telling you. It will let you know when you are tired or when you haven't had enough to eat or when you can push yourself harder.
But until you reach that level of understanding, here are a few tips from Bustle
that can help you get the most out of your workout:
1. Work in some HIIT.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and more or less means going full tilt for a short amount of time. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just two weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training. The best part, workouts are relatively short and you can do many of the exercises without any equipment at all. A wonderful place to start HIIT training is with us on SweatFlix℠! With over 115 hours of on demand workouts, covering everyone from beginner to advanced, you'll always be able to find a routine to keep you motivated and inspired while you build and grow your body in strength and health! Start your free trial today!
2. Invest in the right shoes.
If you're new to running, you may not exactly know what footwear is best for you. If you don't have the right shoes, you might be more susceptible to injury which will obviously set back your progress at the gym. The best advice is to hit the local sports or running store and ask them for their professional opinion. But remember, you don't have to work in a shoe. That's a lie. Your shoe should feel good from the first second you slip it on. Also, go get fitted for your shoe during the time of day you plan to run. Your feet swell at different times during the course of a day.
3. Make rest a priority.
“What people need to understand is that exercise stresses the body, so in order to ensure the positive things you’re seeking you need to allow recovery time,” says Dr. Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise. “Everything needs time to recover, rebuild, and rejuvenate before exposed to stress again.” If you really want to see improvement in your fitness and muscle building, make sure you take time to put your feet up and chill out.
4. Learn how to hydrate.
Not drinking enough water can have a negative impact on your workout. You should drink enough so that your pee appears to be clear but you should also be listening to your body leading up to the workout. If you're going to be working out in the outdoors on a hot day, it isn't a bad idea to bring a bottle with you. If your workout is particularly long, consider bringing a sports drink to help replenish electrolytes and keep you feeling energized.
5. Perfect your posture.
When you're just starting out, form can be a difficult thing to master. This is especially true when it comes to lifting weights. James Grage, co-founder and vice president of BPI Sports, says, "I see people arching their back in the shoulder press, bench press, and biceps curls. This may help you get through the exercise, but it's not efficiently working your muscles, and it'll ultimately lead to the biggest enemy of gains: an injury." If you get your posture right, you may develop more defined muscles more rapidly and avoid stress on the body. If you aren't sure how, check with a trainer at the gym.
6. Take a break between sets.
You might think cranking out your entire workout back to back to get it finished is a good idea but really it is just a good way to wear yourself out and perhaps acquire an injury. "Like good comedy, when it comes to working out, timing is everything," says Joe Stankowski, C.P.T., a trainer in Delaware, "In other words, the amount of time you rest between sets can have a major impact on how the exercise you're doing affects your body." With strength training, he recommends 60 to 90 seconds between sets (one set typically includes eight to 15 reps) and for circuit workouts (involving a series of unrelated workouts like squats and sit-ups), 30 seconds should be enough recovery time.
7. Don't forget your rest day.
“Inadequate rest may lead to over-training syndrome which commonly occurs in fitness enthusiasts that train beyond their body's ability to recover," says Crystal Reeves, NASM-certified master trainer and co-owner of MadSweat. “When you perform excessive amounts of exercise without proper rest and recovery you may experience some harmful side effects including decreased performance, fatigue, altered hormonal states, poor sleeping patterns, reproductive disorders, decreased immunity, loss of appetite, and mood swings.” In other words, if you really want to be most efficient in your gym workouts, don't forget to take at least one day off a week to let your body do its healing work.
Are you a seasoned gym go-er? What tips do you wish you had heard when you were just starting out?